Kevin Zeitler Released by Giants; Move Saves $12M in Cap Space for 2021

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2021

New York Giants offensive guard Kevin Zeitler (70) in action during an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The New York Giants announced Wednesday they have released offensive guard Kevin Zeitler

Zeitler started all 16 games for New York last season and has started all 31 games he played in the two years since joining the team in 2019 in a trade from the Cleveland Browns.

The move saves the Giants $12 million in cap space while leaving $2.5 million in dead cap for 2021, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

The money created an even bigger issue with the salary cap dropping to a reported $182.5 million in 2021, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Jordan Raanan of ESPN broke down the factors in the decision:

Jordan Raanan @JordanRaanan

Kevin Zeitler was ranked 32nd out of 80 qualifying guards by PFF this past season. He was 23rd among guards in PBWR at 88.7%. A $12M salary in today’s economy wasn’t tenable. #Giants #NFL https://t.co/ChX5JFgsun

New York will still need help on the offensive line this offseason after giving up 50 sacks in 2020, tied for second most in the NFL. 

Nate Solder could return after opting out of last season while 2020 first-round pick Andrew Thomas has high expectations, but the unit is still a weakness for a team hoping to improve upon its 6-10 record.

Zeitler should also draw interest on the open market as one of the most durable players in the NFL in recent years. The 31-year-old has missed just one game over the past six seasons with the Giants, Browns and Cincinnati Bengals and played 99 percent of New York's snaps in 2020.